Government moves to end military authority to investigate, prosecute sex crimes

OTTAWA — The federal government has tabled legislation to formally removing the military’s ability to investigate and prosecute crimes of a sexual nature.

Defence Minister Bill Blair introduced changes to the National Defence Act today that would remove jurisdiction to handle certain Criminal Code offences from military court.

Military police will no longer have the authority to investigate those cases, either.

Former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour recommended the change in the fall of 2021.

Arbour released her scathing report on the military the following year, calling for dozens of changes to reform its toxic culture.

The military started referring cases to the civilian justice system in 2021 but only about half of the cases were actually taken on by police in the first two years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press